Every year the fashion set critics snarl and scathe over the National Costume entry for Miss World.
It’s no mean feat to summarize the Australian nation and culture in a dress destined to share the stage with bejeweled saris and sombreros, vivid kaftans and grass skirts, gilded headpieces and intricate ethnic embroidery. Even Colombian contingents have been known to strut on stage with Amazonian parrots and a dress that almost upstages the bird life. It’s a pageant after all.
Unveiled today at the Caulfield Racecourse, home of the Melbourne Cup, Julie Sufi’s (chief designer at Belluccio) creation for this year reminds us of our anthem and the flag which unites. But is this the dress that can stop a nation or even better Advance Australia Fair in one of the World’s most prestigious pageants?
In my travels friends all over the world have asked me to summarize my homeland. I’m always puzzled by how to summarize a Nation so colourful and diverse.
We’ve boundless planes to share [well at least we did in the past]…
Our all inclusive immigration policies of the past shape who we are. And so we have streets crammed with Greek patisseries, steamy restaurants in our China Towns with whirling Peking Ducks glistening in their windows, vast Cattle stations that seem to extend beyond the horizon, Edwardian cottages with white picket fences and manicured rose topiaries, suburban sprawl and lounge rooms filled with the sound of reality shows or Australian rules football, ivy league schools filled with giggling girls in sailor shirts and surrounded by green grounds despite water restrictions, tradies with plumbers cracks, utes and a “bluey”, dinner tables loaded with pungent curry and rice, nonna’s lasagne, a rack of lamb and potatoes, fish and chips, Yaya’s moussaka, Baka’s fat sarma and goulash or the filled bowl of an international student’s ramen with Kim chi on the side.
So how does the expat summarize Australia as homeland in their diaspora musings?
Beneath our radiant Southern Cross…
I start by describing the Australian sky, so blue, so expansive, so flashy (think sunsets, summer days, mid summer days). Living here, it’s easy to think the sky, like your own opportunities, is endless. We are a full skirted country, bright and expansive.
Our land abounds in Nature’s gifts of beauty rich and rare…
I also find myself in awe on return to my homeland by how much we shine, literally. The cobbled pavements of Europe, the traces of coal grime on ancient buildings, the curving and sagging rooftops of village homes impoverished by governments and time are hard to find here. We are a bejeweled country, so sparkly that the less privileged crave our shores and sail to us in leaky boats.
We are girt by blue oceans and swathed in the radiance of the bright star hung nights’ sky.
And if such visual and tangible suggestions of our landscape and cultural climate are not summoned when glancing at this year’s National Costume then let me conclude- the gown unites us under its flag and evokes also the iconic motifs of our past. The billowing full skirt of this gregarious tea dress is just the garb I’d choose to spoon creamy summer day pavlova between my parted lips, snatch a lamington off a paper doily while inside a white picket fenced house, smile and twirl like I’m a happy little Vegemite who loves aeroplane jelly because I am. And fortunately, the majority of us are. We are a lucky country. May we not forget that.
Advance Australia Fair!
- Belluccio: A Stellar Bijoux on the Runway (msdivageiger.wordpress.com)
- miss world australia – ft. BELLUCCIO (stylegallivanter.com)